Skip to main content

CPF for studies: Consider loan schemes instead

  • The Straits Times (10 July 2010) : CPF for studies: Consider loan schemes instead
  • The Straits Times (06 July 2010) : Subsidising Post-Graduate Studies


CPF for studies: Consider loan schemes instead
- The Straits Times, 10 July 2010

We refer to the letter "Subsidising post-graduate studies" by Mr Nelson Tan (Straits Times, 6 July 2010).

2.   The objective of the CPF Education Scheme is to help members support their own or their children's full-time tertiary education using their Ordinary Account savings for undergraduate or diploma courses at approved local universities and polytechnics.

3.   While we understand that there may be members like Mr Tan who wish to use their CPF savings to finance post-graduate studies, post-graduate studies are excluded from the scheme as those who have graduated with basic tertiary qualifications can earn and build up their savings for further studies. Extending the scheme to include post-graduate studies would deviate from the primary objective of CPF, which is to facilitate saving for retirement, healthcare and home ownership needs. Our current policy aims to balance these objectives.

4.   Members requiring assistance for post-graduate studies can consider loan schemes offered by the tertiary institutions or commercial banks. We thank Mr Tan for his feedback.

Subsidising Postgraduate Studies
- The Straits Times, 6 July 2010

As a working adult, I cannot afford to upgrade myself although I know I must if I wish to improve my career prospects, earn more and maintain my employability ('MOE's policy that allows only one subsidy for a master's programme is a hurdle', June 22).

The Government cannot assume working adults have the financial means to pay full tuition fees for postgraduate courses.

So if the Government does not wish to subsidise part-time tertiary students, it should consider allowing citizens to use their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings to finance their dreams.
For a start, allow CPF funds to be used to pay for courses from the polytechnic level upwards. The subsidy from a CPF member's contributions could be partial or full.

I recently asked the National Institute of Education about using my CPF funds to pay the tuition fees of a part-time Master of Arts (Applied Psychology) course it runs.
I was rebuffed, which is puzzling. After all, a government body runs this course, which is relevant to our education system. The degree will help me contribute more positively to the education system.

The official worry about depleting one's CPF funds is unfounded because I would be paying it back, and the chances of doing so are even better as my career prospects, employability and chances of earning a higher wage will all have improved.